The ghost changed her mind


In recent times, Tamil filmmakers have made intelligent use of elements borrowed from the horror genre. Recently, Deekay’s Yaamirukka Bayamey was an intelligent hybrid, combining elements from horror and comedy.

K.M. Saravanan’s Irukku Aana Illai is another such improvisation on horror: part supernatural-romantic comedy and part supernatural-conspiracy tale.

Genre: horror-romcom-thriller
Director: K.M. Saravanan
Cast:Vivant, Eden, Adhavan, Y. Gee Mahendran.
Storyline: A man falls in love with a pretty ghost, who seeks his help to find herself.
Bottomline: Falters in the second half but worth a watch.

The knot is simple: returning home from a bout of drinking, Venkat (Vivanth) survives an accident in which Divya (Eden) is seriously injured. He tries to revive her but his friend advises him to get away from the scene and she eventually dies. The film then unfolds like those innumerable horror films: eerie girl in the mirror, screechy doors slamming shut, and of course rain and thunder.

Just when we expect Divya’s ghost to haunt Venkat, it quickly changes course and we find that it’s suffering from short-term memory loss. The ghost seeks Venkat’s help to find out who she is. It is a refreshing twist, and the film suddenly morphs into a lively rom-com involving a pretty-looking ghost.

One of the interesting features of Irukku Aana Illai is that the film constructs a multi-dimensional personality for Divya despite her being present in the plot only as an ‘image’, a ghost. Contrast this with star vehicles, where female protagonists are reduced to their physical beauty, the mere ‘image’ of the self.

The first half feels like a breeze, partly because the suspense about Divya is sustained. Rarely do Tamil movies offer the audience a chance to identify with both the protagonists: we empathise with Divya’s yearning to learn about herself, and we are also offered a glimpse into Venkat’s logic of falling in love with a ghost who turns his lonely life around.

The enigma of the narrative rests in the tragedy of their love story: the knowledge that their minds and souls are highly compatible but the union of their bodies is impossible. The film works well as long as this status quo is maintained. But the second half tries to rehabilitate the male protagonist with a way out of the dead-end. To enable this, the rom-com turns into a thriller, involving Divya’s twin Kavya.

As the narrative prepares the ground for Venkat’s union with Divya’s lookalike, it takes the sting out of the romance.

Despite the sluggishness of the second half, the film is worth a watch. It also leaves one wondering about what to expect next: a supernatural-family drama perhaps?

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 9:41:33 AM |

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